Fri, 27 March 2020

We're into South Africa's Corona Virus lockdown, and the first proper signs of winter swell - a week of epic surf - has thrown a spanner onto the battle field, writes Spike.


BE A HOBBIT: Please stay the fuck home. A friendly message from your Govt. Photo Unsplashed

The realisation of the reality of Covid-19 and what it actually means if we don't lock down is increasing just as exponentially as Covid-19 does when unhindered by said lockdown.

Within the privileged community, social media has been a battle ground between the Haves (the "researched") and the Have Nots (the "unresearched"). But the tide is turning! The trolls are skulking back to the murky recess of their conspiracy theories, some digging deep into the dark web to find further redemption.

The innocently unresearched are reading up, and starting to understand. The proudly anti-establishment are humbly bending with the weight of the collectively conscious. The privileged are gamefully trying to shed themselves of the trappings. The idiots, of course, are still idiots, but they are starting to shut up, which opens the doors of positivity and the dissemination of useful information, laced with much-needed humour and wit, and wonderful examples of how humans are coming together in troubled times.


AWAY TROLLS AND ORCS! Weapons grade stupidity is spreading virus attack #2. Photo Interwebs

Like this wonderful, profound rendition of Nessun Dorma by tenor Maurizio Marchini in Italy who serenades his neighbours because he wanted "to do something to spread joy amid all the sadness".

The collective outpouring of community and empathy - backed by common sense and medical science - is beginning to push back like a hooded Gandalf on the tower of Minas Tirith, capital of Gondor, who fires waves of light that wash the ramparts of snot-dribbling orcs. They fall squirming and writhing into the abyss. The air is filled with the wet slap of jowly dewlap and slobbery screeching - saliva strands frozen in the air like a graphic novel, framed against cracked, moss-covered stone.

The swell has kicked in and looks set to cook for the next weekToo much? Fuck, it's only Day 1 and Spike has lost the plot. Well, there's a lot more where that came from. How hard has it been biting one's tongue and not getting involved in twisted tos and fros on Facebook? I have been guilty of brief skirmishes of emotion, even misreading well intended posts because I didn't take a minute to digest the gist.

It is hard to shuddup when the lunatics are trying to take over the asylum. How frustrating has it been to see the level of spiteful insensitivity people stoop to enforce their poorly researched opinions? The lack of sentience at times borders on breathtaking, weapons-grade stupidity, as Tom Eaton so succinctly put in a post recently.


BATTLEFIELD: It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel ... a bit under the weather.  

Either way, the swell has kicked in and looks set to cook for the next week, and what are you going to about it? Nothing bru. Nothing. Please.

The current groundswell has ebbed to 4-6' at 13 seconds, but come Sunday, we get another epic long range power-swell of 18 seconds, followed by a third 17 second beauty on Tuesday. The peak period stays above 14 seconds every day until Friday. Perfect timing! Beautiful conditions, and epic swell.

We've just arrived at the best time of year for surfing ... and we're in a lockdown. Bru, it's okay. It will be character-building to suck it up. I could always give spoof surf reports that suggest how crap it is. Actually, yes. I am going to do that! I am not going to reiterate why you should not go surfing any more than the following: You say if you surf solo it's healthy and totally safe?


BRIGHT BLUE: If one person is allowed to surf, you get an instant crowd. Photo Supplied

"If one is allowed to surf, you must allow all to surf, which will quickly lead to crowds. 21 days to try beat a global pandemic is not a big ask," says a friend, Charl Thom, who has been quietly and methodically arguing the case whenever someone says something stupid. He's been busy.

A giant storm, with a central pressure of 950mb, barrelled across the southern ocean this week to send a cracking 10 foot + groundswell to the Cape. The waves arrived yesterday (Thursday).

A week ago, many surfers rubbed their (sanitized) hands with glee at the thought of the first proper swell in weeks. When it was announced that beaches were closed, thus banning surfing and any recreational activity, followed by President Cyril Ramaphosa's lockdown announcement, it was a bitter pill for many to swallow.


PULL IN, ITS COOKING! Let's rather display solidarity with those who sacrifice. Photo WSL / Cestari

There was much defiance. Surfers pride themselves on being otherwise - of cocking a snoot at authority. They paddled out with impunity, then pounded their chests on Facebook. "Fuck you bru. I surf when I want! Stomach in, chest out!"

Rolling skimishes broke out on Facebook. Outrage!Rolling skimishes broke out on Facebook. Outrage! "We're in it together. How could you!? You're jeopardising the project to flatten the curve!" Cornered surfers used conspiracy theories to justify themselves. They used statistics for deaths by toaster, fatalities from cancer and the "normal" flu. They also hid behind the confusion about whether - as Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday - people could walk their dogs and take brief jogs during the 21-day period. If people could jog, people could surf, went the logic. But many conveniently ignored Police Minister Bheki Cele's warning that the lockdown was total and complete. No dog walking. No surfing. Stay at home.

It was hard for surfers in Jeffreys' Bay to ignore those beautiful lines sweeping down the reef at Supertubes yesterday, and quite a few didn't. People went surfing at Yellowsands near East London, but they had to pay R2000 fines or face jail time. People surfed at Kalk Bay, and Derde Steen, and other places.


FLATTENED CURVE: Unless of course you paddle out dressed like this. Photo: Michael Dyrland

While I don't condone it, and didn't surf myself, you can understand the logic that with a national lockdown hours away, lets surf in the salty ocean instead of breathing all over each other in shopping queues. I do think most people who surfed didn't plan to surf during the lockdown, and the empty lineup at Supers today suggested that (although it was considerably smaller!).

Kudos to those who have brought balance to the social debate. Colin Sayers: "(Surfers who break the ban are) using up resources that should be used chasing real crime. Selfish, all you need is a pissed off official trying to ban surfing at the beach, as a reprisal??"

Well done Gary Andrew who conceded: "I surfed Melkbos today, thinking I was a rebel. After the life guard spoke to me I just felt like a C$&T. I will gladly be a example for others not to go and surf. #itsnotaboutyou"

It's just not worth it. Please don't make them extend the lockdown for another three weeks because we can't flatten the curve, or because the example of your defiance spread to others, expanding the number of people in defiance of the law.

That will not end well.

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